The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rare Events In Baseball

There's an old adage in baseball that every game brings the possibility (and even the likelihood) that you'll see something that's never happened before. This season has been no exception, as there have been some truly rare events (perfect games, combined no-hitters). But just how rare are they?

As I write this, there have been 202,089 games played in major league baseball history since 1871. That doesn't include post-season games, nor does it include the World Series (either in its present incarnation or in the precursors in the 1880's). In that time, the following things have occurred less than 1,000 times:
 Of these feats, there are some "subsets" (as mathematicians would say) that are rarer still:
Yes, you saw that right. Only two times in major league history - both back in the 1960's - did a pitcher lose a game without surrendering a hit.

Okay, on a pure technicality, only one pitcher has done it all by himself; Ken Johnson of the Houston Colts did it in 1964 against the Reds. The other game was a combined effort, where the late Steve Barber and Stu Miller combined to lose a game to the Detroit Tigers at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1967.

Other than the two "rarest" feats - a perfect game and an unassisted triple play in the World Series - the two times a pitcher has lost a game without giving up a hit in nine innings is incredibly rare.

An aside trivia note: you can probably name the pitcher of the lone perfect game in World Series history (heck, I have his autograph), but can you name the player who turned the only unassisted triple play in World Series history?

I'll publish the answer next week. No fair cheating.

EDIT: So - how many of you out there guessed "Bill Wambsganss of the Cleveland Indians, in the 1920 World Series vs. Brooklyn"?  Those of you who did - good job. It was turned in the top of the fifth on a liner by Clarence Mitchell to second base. Wambsganss tagged the bag to retire Pete Kilduff, who was halfway to third, and then tagged a surprised Otto Miller on the run from first.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

120 Ballparks and Counting (Kinda)

Back on June 8th, I saw a random post from @MLB on Twitter that asserted that the Chicago Cubs interleague series against the Minnesota Twins made Target Field in Minneapolis the 120th different ballpark that they had played in since 1876.

Another fan tweeted to @MLB, requesting the entire list. Well, it took me a bit (and I would contend some of the actual "stadiums" are essentially the same ballpark, with a different name), but I came up with the list of all 120 different ballparks - thanks to the people over at and Sean Lahman's Baseball Database.

Here's the list:

Cubs Home Ballparks
1. 23rd Street Grounds (1876-1877)
2. Lake Front Park I (1878-1882)
3. Lake Front Park II (1882-1884)
4. West Side Park I (1885-1890)
5. South Side Park II (1891-1893)
6. West Side Park II (1894-1915)
7. Wrigley Field (Chicago; aka Weegham Park)

Ballparks where the Cubs are scheduled to play a game in during 2012
8. AT&T Park (SFG; aka PacBell Park)
9. Busch Stadium III (STL)
10. Chase Field (ARI; aka Bank One Ballpark)
11. Citi Field (NYM)
12. Citizens Bank Park (PHI)
13. Coors Field (COL)
14. Dodger Stadium (LAD)
15. Great American Ball Park (CIN)
16. Marlins Park (MIA)
17. Miller Park (MIL)(a)
18. Minute Maid Park (HOU; aka Enron Field)
19. Nationals Park (WAS)
20. Petco Park (SDP)
21. PNC Park (PIT)
22. Turner Field (ATL)
23. U.S. Cellular Field (CWS; aka Comiskey Park II)
24. Target Field (MIN)

Other Ballparks played in, 1962-2011
25. Angels Stadium (Anaheim)
26. Astrodome (Houston)
27. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
28. Busch Stadium II (St. Louis, aka Busch Memorial Stadium)
29. Candlestick Park (San Francisco; aka 3Com Park)
30. Cinergy Field (Cincinnati; aka Riverfront Stadium)
31. Colt Stadium (Houston)
32. Comerica Park (Detroit)
33. Crosley Field (Cincinnati)
34. Estadio Hiram Bithorn (San Juan; Expos home 2003-04)
35. Fenway Park II (Boston)
36. Forbes Field (Pittsburgh)
37. Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome (Minneapolis)
38. Progressive Field (Cleveland; aka Jacobs Field)
39. Jarry Park (Montreal; aka Parc Jarry)
40. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City)
41. Mile High Stadium (Denver)
42. Milwaukee County Stadium (1953-1965, vs. Braves) (b)
43. Milwaukee County Stadium (1997-2000, vs. Brewers)
44. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore)
45. Polo Grounds IV (New York)(c)
46. Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego; aka Jack Murphy)
47. R.F.K. Stadium (Washington)
48. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
49. Rogers Centre (Toronto; aka Skydome)
50. Safeco Field (Seattle)
51. Shea Stadium (New York)
52. Shibe Park (Philadelphia; aka Connie Mack Stadium)
53. Sportsman's Park IV (Saint Louis; aka Busch Stadium I)
54. Stade Olympique (Montreal; aka Olympic Stadium)
55. Sun Life Stadium (Miami; aka Joe Robbie/Dolphin Stadium)
56. Three Rivers Stadium (Pittsburgh)
57. Tiger Stadium (Detroit; aka Navin Field/Briggs Stadium)(d)
58. Tokyo Dome (Tokyo)
59. Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)
60. Yankee Stadium II (The Bronx)

Other Ballparks played in, 1876-1961
61. Association Park (Kansas City)
62. Athletic Park I (Indianapolis)
63. Athletic Park II (Indianapolis)
64. Avenue Grounds (Cincinnati)
65. Baker Bowl (Philadelphia; aka National League Park)(e)
66. Bank Street Grounds (Cincinnati)
67. Bennett Park (Detroit; site of Tiger Stadium)(d)
68. Boundary Field (Washington DC)
69. Braves Field (Boston)
70. Congress Street Grounds (Boston)
71. Eastern Park (Brooklyn)
72. Ebbets Field (Brooklyn)
73. Eclipse Park I (Louisville)
74. Eclipse Park II (Louisville)
75. Eclipse Park II (Milwaukee; 1878 NL)
76. Exposition Park (Pittsburgh)
77. Fenway Park I (Boston; 1915 Braves)
78. Hartford Ball Club Grounds
79. Haymakers' Grounds (Troy)
80. Jefferson Street Grounds (Philadelphia)
81. Kennard Street Park (Cleveland)
82. League Park I (Cleveland)
83. League Park I  (Cincinnati)
84. League Park II (Cincinnati)
85. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
86. Louisville Baseball Park
87. Messer Street Grounds (Providence)
88. National League Park (Cleveland)
89. National League Park (Philadelphia; formal name of Baker Bowl, 1895-1913)(e)
90. Newell Park (Syracuse)
91. Olympic Park I (Buffalo)
92. Palace of the Fans (Cincinnati, later Crosley Field)
93. Philadelphia Baseball Grounds (1887-1894 version of Baker Bowl)
94. Polo Grounds I (Manhattan; 1883-88)
95. Polo Grounds II (Manhattan; 1889)
96. Polo Grounds III (Manhattan; 1890-11; fire destroyed most of the grandstand)
97. Putnam Grounds (Troy)
98. Recreation Park (Detroit)
99. Recreation Park (Philadelphia)
100. Recreation Park (Pittsburgh)
101. Riverside Park (Buffalo)
102. Robison Field (Saint Louis)
103. Roosevelt Stadium (Jersey City; Dodgers home games 1956-57)
104. St. George Cricket Grounds (Staten Island)
105. Seals Stadium (San Francisco)
106. South End Grounds I (Boston)
107. South End Grounds II (Boston)
108. South End Grounds III (Boston)
109. South Side Park III (Chicago; 1906 World Series)
110. South Street Park (Indianapolis)
111. Sportsman's Park I (Saint Louis)
112. Swampoodle Grounds (Washington)
113. Troy Ball Club Grounds
114. Union Grounds (Brooklyn)
115. Union Park (Baltimore; aka Oriole Park III)
116. Washington Park I (Brooklyn)
117. Washington Park II (Brooklyn)
118. Washington Park III (Brooklyn)
119. Worcester Driving Park Grounds (aka Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds)
120. Yankee Stadium I (The Bronx)

(a) - Miller Park was the site of a road game vs. the Houston Astros in 2008, due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
(b) - Milwaukee County Stadium was renovated heavily after the Braves left for Atlanta in 1966, so much so that the park was completely different when the Cubs played their first (and only) interleague series with Milwaukee in 1997. 
(c) - The Polo Grounds incarnations from 1890-1963 were essentially the same stadium, though the grandstands prior to 1911 were wooden. The Grounds also went through two "orientation" changes in that time frame.
(d) - The Cubs have played in three of the four variations of what was Tiger Stadium – Bennett Park in the 1907-08 World Series; Navin Field in the 1935 World Series; Briggs Stadium in the 1945 World Series; and Tiger Stadium during interleague play in 1998.
(e) - Baker Bowl was the informal name of National League Park from 1913-1938. The park's formal name was never changed between 1895 and its demolition in 1950.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Why Does Everyone Hate Me?

Why does everyone hate me?

I didn't do anything to anyone, at least not that I know of. I'm sitting here, trying to eke out a living so my wife and I can have clothes on our back and food on our table.

Of course, I have to buy that food at Aldi's, or at a local grocery with coupons. And I don't think we've actually bought clothes from anywhere other than Wal-Mart or Goodwill for some time. In fact, I think the last time I bought something to wear elsewhere was when I bought a Packers Super Bowl hat at Target in Waukesha.

Ah, Waukesha. My hometown and my (somewhat) "ancestral" home. I lived there for 18 very good years, met many good people - and had to deal with some not so good people. Maybe one of those people said something. Maybe that's why everyone hates me.

See, I didn't always live in Waukesha. I'm originally from Racine, you see. Grew up there, graduated from high school there. Wasn't very popular there, either - kinda hard to be when you're the short, fat and ugly one. Maybe that's why I'm hated so much? Nah, probably not. The person who coined that phrase has since apologized profusely for that statement.

Of course, there's that little-known fact that I'm originally from Kenosha - THAT'S always good for a snicker or two from other Wisconsinites. I know, I know - IQ drops when you're that close to the Illinois border and all that.

No, no, it's something else. It can't quite be because I went to UW-Whitewater, could it? I mean, the football team wasn't very good when I went there. Heck, I graduated from school about a year after the current coach did. Now him, there's someone who I would see why he'd be hated. All those championships, getting some of the best "leftovers" from a Big Ten school with quality players - yeah, Lance could end up being hated, but that doesn't explain me.

People hate me, and they don't know me. This economy has hit me hard, just as hard as everyone else. My place of employment was shut down, and I had to move completely elsewhere in the state to find another job. That involved the very difficult task of trying to sell a home in a very depressed market. This rather old condo (compared to the others in our area, it was positively ancient) had been, at one point, assessed as being worth nearly double what we got for it, when it finally sold. As it was, it was barely more than what we paid for it.

Oh, wait, that must be it - we actually managed to sell our place. Those others in Waukesha County - or even in our little hamlet of Pewaukee - who still have their places on the market? And they're not getting a sniff in the way of buyers? They must be the ones who hate me with a passion. They can't sell their $200k McMansions because no one wants to live in them, and the taxes are way too much because the road in front of their houses hasn't been repaired since it was built 10 years ago.

Yeah, I guess that may be it. But why are people so happy to hear that we did manage to sell our place - even if it was to someone who turned it into a rental property?

Perhaps its all those friends of mine down in Waukesha, and Milwaukee, and Racine - all those who I knew, went to baseball and hockey games with, worked with, laughed with, enjoyed life with. They didn't like that I moved all the way Up North. I can understand that. I still get frustrated when I take that turn onto I-39 and see the sign saying, "Wausau 108". Okay, it doesn't actually say that, but when you see the first exit after the I-90/94 split is 85 - and your exit is number 205, and you've got another eight miles to go after that... well.

Of course, I don't take that route when I'm heading down to southeastern Wisconsin. It goes through Madison. And I'm not very happy with Madison right now.

I think the people who hate me live there. They don't seem to think I'm human. They see me as some stereotype - fat, lazy, arrogant, overpaid and stupid. Oh, and greedy. That's what I hear in all the papers, anyways.

In case you haven't been following this blog for long - and I don't blame you if you haven't, because I haven't been very good at keeping it up - I am a state employee. Not only that, I'm a second generation state employee. My dad worked for the state, and my mom was a school teacher in Racine.

I'd like to point out a few things: I've never been financially "well off" in my nearly two decades working for the people of this state. Yeah, the home I used to live in down in Pewaukee was nice, but if I hadn't gotten most of the down-payment for it from my grandfather, I would probably be living out of an apartment, just like I am now up here. I haven't bought a new car in nearly a decade, and I've never owned a Cadillac (though my dad had one of those godawful Cimarrons back in the day - you couldn't force me to own one of those).

Still. People hate me. They hate me because of those words: "state employee".

I do things in the service of this state. A state I love, where I've grown and lived and laughed and married (and, unfortunately, buried) with friends and loved ones.

And yet they hate me. Because they see me as this faceless stereotype of the fat and lazy, good for nothing employee who's sucking their tax dollars dry.

I go back to work tomorrow. I deal with the things that the people of this state want me to do, as they have said under previous administrations and legislatures who have, over the years, pieced together my workplace and job description. I head back into a place where job morale is at such an all-time low that it is common - common! - for people to call in sick or refuse to come in to work, if only because no one wants to work for people who hate them all the time.

And I'm not talking about the people I deal with in my job - I'm talking about the public. "Joe Sixpack". The people who have no idea who I am. Who I really am.

And yet... they hate me.

I don't quite know why I'm writing this. I don't think it's because I'm hoping someone changes their mind about things. I doubt that severely, as it is apparent that the lines are drawn in the sand as to who hates me and who doesn't.

Maybe it's just because I need to understand why.